A Florida woman has been charged with child endangerment after prosecutors say she allowed her son to be alone with, and severely beat, his 2-month-old baby, despite a court order that she supervise her son’s care of the child, Montgomery County officials said Wednesday.
Michelle Rohloff, 63, also faces a charge of reckless endangerment of another person. She was released on $25,000 unsecured bail. There was no indication that she had hired an attorney, and she did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
Investigators say Rohloff moved from West Palm Beach to Bridgeport in July, as her son, Daniel Rohloff, faced continuing legal issues over the care of his then-newborn son, Landon.
Caseworkers from the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth noted that Daniel Rohloff had a history of mental health and substance-abuse issues. He also exhibited “strange behavior” as his girlfriend gave birth to the boy, and had to be removed from the hospital by police officers, authorities said.
As a result, a county judge approved a safety plan in which Daniel Rohloff was barred from being alone with his son unless his mother was present, authorities said.
Despite this order, they said, he was left alone with the baby for an extended period on July 26 and beat the child twice, causing fractured ribs and damage to his internal organs. The child barely survived, and had to be placed on a ventilator in the hospital. Rohloff was later arrested and charged with attempted murder and related crimes.
During an interview with detectives, Michelle Rohloff admitted she was in her son’s home when the abuse took place, and did not respond to the baby’s cries.
First Assistant District Attorney Edward F. McCann Jr., in a statement, said her failure to act directly led to the infant’s injuries.
“Michelle Rohloff affirmatively accepted the responsibility of protecting Landon,” McCann said. “She had a legal duty of care to this vulnerable baby, and she violated that duty when she allowed Landon to be unsupervised with Daniel Rohloff.”